Bob O'Hara - Public Record Searches
David Harding, Australia: "To Whom it may concern :
I am delighted to confirm that I have had several dealings with Bob O'Hara
in a professional sense regarding detailed searches for military records of
several ancestors who served in the British Military and the Militia during
the 1800s. They had stints in many locations in the United Kingdom and in
Frankly I was amazed with the detail that he was able to locate regarding
their service records and I would recommend anyone who seeks this type of
information to commission him to undertake such a search".
Geoffrey O'Connell: "Dear Bob,
Nice to hear from you and I will be in contact some time in the not too
distant future to commission some more research in respect of my ever
I have found your research operation to be excellent - and that I continue
to request your assistance must speak volumes for the efficacy of your
Joan Isaac, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands: "I found Bob O'Hara's in-depth knowledge
of military records and research exemplary. He provided, in a very short period of time,
substantial detail on five ancestors who had fought in WW1. I felt as though he had
'brought them to life'. Bob is also friendly and approachable. Bob's work has been an essential
component for my own subsequent family history research and visits to the Western Front.
I would always recommend Bob to others seeking help or a 'kick start' with their military
family history research".
Peter O'Connor, Tokyo, Japan: "Time after time, living in Japan while working on a doctoral thesis
requiring intensive research in the Foreign Office Correspondence at Kew,
Bob O'Hara's services were invaluable in turning up hard-to-find documents
and alerting me to others whose existence I had little suspected. Friendly,
rapid service, reasonable charges and fast document despatch made the
process considerably less arduous than it might have been. I have no
hesitation in recommending Bob's services to anyone undertaking a serious
Malcolm Fife : "Bob O'Hara was of great assistance to me when I was researching my books
on "Scottish Aerodromes of the First World War" and a history of Drem Airfield.
He supplied me with abundant information at a reasonable cost. Any problems that arose from this work was promptly
dealt with. As I live outside London it made economic sense to employ someone who knew their way
around the archives held at the Public Records Office rather than go there myself. I would have no
hesitation in commissioning Bob O'Hara's services again on any future project I may undertake".
Richard Doherty, Londonderry: "I first made Bob's acquaintance when I came across his website account of the loss of the Princess Victoria in the North Channel in January 1953. At the time I was researching for a newspaper article on the tragedy and Bob's account came up as a result of a Google search. He was kind enough to allow me to use some of his material for the article and to tell me a little bit more about the Royal Navy in Londonderry at that time.
Shortly afterwards we met up when I was working in the National Archives and it was only natural that when I found myself without enough time to get to Kew for additional research for my latest book - Ubique: The Royal Artillery in the Second World War - I should turn to Bob and his team for help.
In spite of some rather obscure requests, including the date on which Winston Churchill autographed a shell and fired it from one of 3rd Super Heavy Regiment's 240mm howitzers, I had all my answers in little more than a week. The service was superb and were it not for the unalloyed joy I get from studying old documents myself I would probably let Bob's team do all my future research.
Bob O'Hara has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the National Archives and is both professional and friendly in his approach. His enthusiasm shines through at all times and I have no hesitation in recommending his services to anyone unable to travel to Kew to carry out research. Use Bob's team and you will not be disappointed."
Paul Hooley MBE. "I write to thank you for the research work you carried out on my behalf
and for uncovering so much information about my great, great grandfather John
Foot and his father John Foot Senior. You may recall that both men rose to become Chief Officers of HM Coastguard at various Coastguard Stations
during the period 1817 - 1865.
Your much appreciated assistance has enabled me to substantially increase my
knowledge of my ancestors during what was a critical period in our island's
history and its fight against smuggling.
You also led me to other sources of information concerning the private lives
of the two John Foot's and their families. All these details will be
included in a series of booklets I intend to produce in which I will
acknowledge your valuable contributions which will have helped to make such
publications possible - I am most grateful to you".
Janice Dent, Essex - "Hi Bob,
I wanted to add a huge thank you for finding my late father's army records and helping interpret the
information. You cannot possibly know how much this has helped with my family history research and also
for my son who is 11 yrs old and only knew his grandfather for a short time before his passing, could have
something tangible to put with the army stories he spoke to him about so often. I wished I'd have listened
to him more too.
Your research was thorough, comprehensive and clear and your help to make sense of it all is wonderful.
I will recommend you to others needing help and I will be using you again and again as my family history
Fr. Timothy Ferguson. "Dear Bob, It's my pleasure to offer the attached testimonial (pdf) for the magnificent research and documentation you provided in regard to my relative, Master William Jennings. Thank you again for your impeccable work. Very Best Regards, Fr. Timothy, Boston MA".
Sir Derek Oulton, QC. Ph.D. "Bob O'Hara goes much more than the extra mile when searching records and seeking to find information for his clients. He recently spent far more than the time he had contracted to give when trying to track down some obscure family information for me. He then followed it up with much after-sales service which he provided entirely voluntarily in his determination to help me. A particular strength that he possesses is a gift for patiently explaining rather complicated computer programmes in a way that a complete amateur can understand. He lives within walking distance of the National Archives Office in Kew, and I recommend him with complete confidence to anyone who needs information from those archives."
Norman Mongan -
I wanted to let you know how pleased I was with your excellent and speedy
research work carried out for me at the National Archives. First of all it was an absolute
revelation to discover - through your research - that my grand-uncle Michael, chief
freight clerk with the Midland Great Western Railway at Mullingar in 1884, had enlisted
in the British Army at Wellington Barracks in Mullingar there. From his military
records you extracted I was able to piece together his whole military career,
showing he had enlisted with the Commissariet & Transport Corps in 1884, and left
for Aldershot to undergo his military training, and might even have seen service during
the Suakin Campaign in Sudan in 1884-85. He was promoted Lance-Corporal in 1887,
and after various postings he left Ireland in 1888 to face his destiny in America, so
your contribution to the story was invaluable. I have even included a short quote from
your report as part of my 20-year quest for the truth. So again many thanks
for your wonderful dectective sleuthing that helped resurrect Michael's long-buried
career with the army. I'll be recommending you to other writers as well.
Regards, Norman Mongan"
Allan Smith, Administrator of the Estate of Brian Desmond Hurst - "Brian Desmond Hurst was Ireland's Most Prolific Movie Director. Hans Hurst joined the Royal Irish Rifles as a private in the first weeks of World War 1; changed his name to Brian and a year later found himself on the slopes above Anzac Cove fighting with the 6th Btn RIR in their first contact with Turks. Every officer was dead or wounded after 2 days in contact with the enemy and the fate of the enlisted men was largely undocumented. Brian survived and saw out the remainder of world war one and returned to Belfast which was a place of turmoil. He was bored and left on an artistic journey that landed him in Hollywood where he learnt the craft of movie directing under John Ford (who remained a lifelong friend) and he went on to become Ireland's most prolific movie director living in the relative comfort of Belgravia rather than Belfast (but to which he returned often). His movies include Scrooge, Tom Browns Schooldays, Malta Story, Dangerous Moonlight and Theirs is the Glory. I turned to Bob to fill in the gaps on the experience of the enlisted men and the men who Brian signed up with and for more detail of those 2 days in contact with the enemy at Gallipoli. His work was swift, accurate, value for money and relevant and he added that extra ingredient of going the extra mile. I can completely endorse his work and recommend Bob without hesitation."
Roger Hutchinson: "I've been grateful for the help of Bob O'Hara for over 15 years, in the process of writing newspaper articles, television and radio scripts about Scotland and books as diverse as 'Calum's Road' and a life of Aleister Crowley. Bob not only takes the pressure off researching in the most remote and dusty corners of the UK National Archives in Kew, London, he's also a pure pleasure to work with. The term 'a gentleman and a scholar' was coined for people like Bob O'Hara." Roger is listed in our author's page, with a a link to his publisher.
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